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The importance of exercise

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In today’s society it is extremely hard to fit everything in to our everyday lives, but exercise is not something we should be leaving out especially when working in an office environment. A recent study has found that for those who are sat down for more than three hours a day could be shaving two years off their life expectancy; and as most office workers are seated for eight hours a day or more it is vital to get up on your feet whenever possible.

Exercise also has a connection with mental health, the less active you are the more likely it is that you will experience low mood levels, anxiety and depression. If you keep active you are:

• More likely to increase concentration and improve focus
• Reduce stress
• Improve self- confidence
• More likely to have a better sleeping pattern
• Sharpen memory and prevent cognitive decline

For mild depression, physical activity has even been proved to be as good as antidepressants or psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

It can be easier said than done to include exercise into your daily life but if you set yourself an obtainable goal it can make the task much easier and enjoyable and also make you feel good about yourself that you are achieving something new in life. Make the goal personal to yourself something that you have always thought about doing but not quite got around to such as; buying a bike and cycling to work, attending classes at the gym, or becoming part of a sports team.

I myself have wanted to take up running for a number of years but always managed to find an excuse not to go. Just over a year ago I set myself the challenge of completing the Manchester 10k. At the time I had never ran for longer than 15 minutes and even that was a struggle but I knew I needed to become more active and get out in the fresh air as sitting in the office under the air con day in day out is not good for anyone. Running is also a great way of clearing your mind after a stressful day and to forget about all the jobs and tasks which are getting you down. It was very difficult to fit running in after a long day at work but by finding a friend to come with me and going on short runs to begin with and building up slowly it became part of everyday life and also very enjoyable. After completely the 10k I felt great about myself that I achieved what I set out to do. I went on to set more goals of completing half marathons and then April this year I completed the Manchester Marathon within the time I wanted to achieve.

It is extremely easy to say you cannot fit in exercise around a busy working life but if you take it one step at a time, set yourself a goal and have a positive attitude it is amazing what your body can do and how beneficial it will be to your health in the long term.
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